Authors withdraw two papers from JBC — and that’s all we know


Two sets of authors have withdrawn their papers from the Journal of Biological Chemistry. We’re telling you about the both together because, true to JBC form, there’s not too much to say.

The retraction notices for both papers — about the molecular underpinnings of cardiac fibroblasts and melanoma cells — are identical:

This article has been withdrawn by the authors.

G protein-coupled receptor kinase-2 is a novel regulator of collagen synthesis in adult human cardiac fibroblasts” has been cited 14 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. “MDA-9/Syntenin is essential for factor VIIa-induced signaling, migration, and metastasis in melanoma cells” has been cited twice.

Still, we’ve recently seen some longer notes from the journal, and have gotten some additional helpful information about a retraction from a representative of the journal. But this time, the reply from the journal — from Kaoru Sakabe, Manager of Publication Issues at the the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which publishes JBC — was short and sweet:

It is JBC policy to maintain confidentiality in such matters.  I would suggest contacting Dr. Boukerche and Dr. Akhter directly.

She’s referring to the corresponding authors, Shahab Akhter at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Habib Boukerche at INSERM. We have reached out to them, and will update the post if we hear back.

In the meantime, PubPeer commenters have a few ideas as to what’s going on with the paper on melanoma cells, suggesting that the same gel bands are reused. Other papers by Boukerche have also been discussed on the site.

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3 thoughts on “Authors withdraw two papers from JBC — and that’s all we know”

  1. In the case of the other paper (Akhter), a cursory glance shows some western blotting problems. Fig 1D GAPDH loading control, when flipped horizontally, appears more similar than would be expected by pure coincidence, to Figure 5A GAPDH loading control.

    It would be easier to apply more scrutiny if JBC hadn’t plastered “withdrawn” across the middle of every page, obscuring the figures. I understand putting a banner on page 1, but the remaining pages should remain unadulterated to allow post-hoc analysis.

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